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Evolutionary psychology: I love it. Gossip is good for you


A friend on his lunch break sends me this – the latest nonsense from “evolutionary psychology”:

Google News Alert

Bruce Schneier: More on the Broad View of Security CSO – Framingham,MA,USAFor example, a lot of the seemingly irrational security trade-offs that the behavioral economists have documented can be explained by the evolutionary …See all stories on this topic

Have you heard? Gossip can be good for you Chicago Tribune – United States Gossiping about neighbors, co-workers and, increasingly, celebrities all grows from the same evolutionary root: survival. Back in the day, if you didn’t …See all stories on this topic

Does religion provide an evolutionary advantage? Science a Gogo – USA He found persuasive evidence from a variety of domains – including neuroscience, economics, psychology and sociology – that religious beliefs and religious …See all stories on this topic

Look at that middle story: I wonder whether a study detailing how gossip isn’t good for you – relative to minding your own business and getting on with the job at hand – would see the light of day … ?

One thing to note about EP is its utter predictability. It always seems to be about whatever foolishness is noised about in pop culture. If the talk show circuit likes it, it is definitely science. And who could possibly argue with that?

It certainly never seems to be about anything that provides real insight into human nature. But then it couldn’t be, could it?

See also: Recently, a friend sent me this Google alert for “evolutionary psychology” (Similar nutty stories)

Go here for other stories on evolutionary psychology (scroll down to second and following).

Also, just up at The Mindful Hack is my blog on neuroscience and spirituality issues, which supports The Spiritual Brain:

Music is an earworm. No wait, it is evolutionary cheesecake. Oh, wait, just a minute …. This just in …

Are people starting to get the fact that the high tech hucksters are – well – hucksters?

Neuroscience and criminal justice: Voodoo, for example

Religion: There is atheism, … and then there is materialist atheism …

In regards to the spiritual brain, I'm pretty much a Bible fundamentalist that believes God created the heavens and the earth in six days. What God did not create are immortal disembodied beings that reside in human bodies. It's strange to find myself disagreeing with an IDst I respect even though it means I almost kind of agree with evolutionists. We can live in the spirit (by the Bible) or live in the flesh (by selfishness, but the processes in our brain are all we have to make decisions. There isn't some connection to a soul ... The Bible doesn't say we have souls, but that we are souls -- perhaps you ought to consider that a little more closely. faithandshadow
Don’t want to sound like a goof but my doctor put me on Princess Diana books and it instantly cleared up a skin condition. Golden age of gossip rags was post-WWII. Gals were like, I mean, Happy. Baby Boom & all that. Democrats did Mark Foley in 06 and Palin in 08. Never seen ‘em feel so good about themselves. If they weren’t so into abortion I’d say it could alter the genome. pmob1
Regarding the article you linked to "Does religion provide an evolutionary advantage?", I couldn't help but wonder...Is there an evolutionary advantage for an absence of self-control too? *sighs* I'm sure they'll come up with something. Bantay
Putting aside for a moment the story that makes Bruce Schneier feel warm, it is sad that the techniques he and others are using to identify spam result in obligations for the rest of us. E.g., if spammers mimic the way normal people communicate (e.g., with an email, "hey, check out this link:...."), and the spam filters key of this pattern, normal people must then learn to communicate differently in order to get around spam filters. Indeed, the need for spam filters and virus checkers is a consequence of insecure mechanisms that were forced down our throats by the like of Microsoft programmers. ("Hey, wouldn't it be neat if email could run scripts?"). In this sense, the natural behavior of humans is being manipulated as a consequence of apparently unintended consequences of barely intelligent designers. Bruce Schneier a huckster? If by huckster you mean successful self-promoter, yes. William Wallace
Ah yes ... Anyone can come up with clever explanations for a vast variety of things, if no requirement is added to know whether it is true or not. That is the difference between science and evolutionary psychology. O'Leary
In regards to the article on gossip, that is actually a rather clever explanation for it. Whether it is true or not, who knows. Platonist
In regards to the first article; there is alot of brain power in the Boston area, sadly this gentleman seems to be offering silly darwinian explanations for real life. I have friends who went to Framingham High School by the way. Platonist

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